Christine MuttonenOSCE Parliamentary Assembly President Christine MuttonenWASHINGTON, 5 November 2016 – In response to the arrests of the two leaders of Turkey’s Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) along with at least ten other members of parliament, OSCE Parliamentary Assembly President Christine Muttonen (MP, Austria) today expressed concern over these developments and called on Ankara to ensure that the parliamentarians enjoy their full legal rights.

“The latest developments in Turkey, including the arrests of elected members of parliament on questionable grounds, are deeply disturbing,” Muttonen said. “While it is clear that Turkey is dealing with political and security difficulties, the threat of terrorism should not be used as a pretext to persecute members of the political opposition – in this case, Turkey’s third largest political party. I call on Ankara to end these practices and return to ordinary procedures and democratic safeguards without delay.”

Speaking from Washington, DC, where she is leading observers monitoring the general elections in the United States, President Muttonen stressed that parliamentarians must be allowed to fulfill their duties representing the people who elected them. She further expressed concern over the conditions and legal rights of those detained.

“I am troubled by the lack of human rights safeguards under the state of emergency,” she said. “The government should reinstate these crucial safeguards immediately and the parliamentarians still being held by the authorities should be able to exercise their full legal rights.”

President Muttonen led a delegation to Turkey one month after the 15 July coup attempt, meeting with President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Speaker of Parliament Ismail Kahraman, Prime Minister Binali Yildirim, Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu, Members of Turkey’s OSCE PA Delegation, and leaders of all political parties represented in parliament, including HDP Chairwoman Figen Yüksekdağ, who was among the parliamentarians recently arrested.

The OSCE PA delegation expressed solidarity with the elected government of Turkey and its people, and expressed its appreciation for the unity shown by all parties in parliament following the attempted coup d’etat.